It is easy to say your business is customer-centric simply because you can in today’s world where buzzwords are constantly been abused, but it is a lot more difficult to build a truly customer-centric business.
A customer-centric business is at the core laser-focused on the customer and places the customer above everything else. Such businesses are super focused on offering the best experience to their customers and building long term relationships by providing the best value in a way that is super convenient too.
Being customer-centric is not just a business strategy that is used to bring in more sales for a quarter or two; it is a culture that is reflected in the day-to-day activities of the business.
You may have heard of many companies like Amazon who are popular for their customer centricity but there are many more companies like Zappos, Sephora, Apple, Slack, and Netflix who have found that being customer-focused brings in a lot more growth in the long run.
In fact, according to Forbes brands that offer superior customer experience bring in 7.5 times more revenue than those who don’t. It is easy to see why, customers appreciate businesses that go the extra mile to please them, and it builds loyalty and a sense of satisfaction in customers which translates to more sales and referrals.
So, what do you do to make your small business truly customer-centric?
- Start With Your Culture– As I mentioned earlier, a truly customer-centric organization has a customer-first philosophy deeply ingrained in the company’s way of life. A strong culture is the starting point to creating products, processes, and experiences that satisfy customers at every stage of the business. To create a customer-centric culture everyone in your company must be committed to offering the best value to your customers. You must empower your employees through training to see through the eyes of your customers, to be able to spot opportunities to offer value to your customers independently and just because it is company policy but because they truly believe that the customer is king.
- Anticipate The Needs of Your Customers– Say you’re really thirsty and someone comes with a cup of water without you asking for it, how will you feel? By knowing what your customers want even before they ask for it or know that they need it, you’re able to unlock a level of satisfaction that makes you really valuable to your customer. To do this, you must be able to step on the shoes of your customers and utilize data about their behaviors to predict what they would need and offer a solution to that need. Your customers don’t always know what they need, it is your job to accurately predict that need and provide a solution to that need.
- Listen to Your Customers– A customer-centric business is obsessed with getting feedback from customers; they create channels that make it easy to communicate frequently and directly with customers where ever they are. Thanks to technology, businesses can easily communicate with their customers through emails, calls, various messaging apps, and beyond that by conducting surveys to get specific feedback from customers. By making your business more accessible to your customers and listening to their feedback you are better able to increase loyalty in your customers and build a valuable long term relationship.
- Memorable Customer Service – Don’t settle for a customer service that does the bare minimum, the goal of your customer service should be to wow your customers and they can do this by providing exceptional service before and after-sales. You should be able to answer customer questions even before they arise and if possible create a simple service platform for them to resolve their problems. Your customer service team should always be thinking of what they can do to make the customer feel great about their experience that they would want to tell others about it.
Customer centricity is a life-long process for any business; every stakeholder of that business must be committed to going the extra mile to contribute to positive customer experience. Of course, it comes with its own challenges like the inability to share customer information across the company, a difference in the definition of what customer centricity means by different stakeholders, and ill-equipped customer support. Regardless, if you can overcome these challenges the benefits are clear from immediate results like referrals to increase sales to an increased customer lifetime value. Do you want to build a business that would outlast your competition? Build a customer-centric business.